This Isn't How It Was Supposed To End
"This isn't how it was supposed to end." You looked at me weird, raised eyebrows as if to label me crazy. I couldn't tell what your face tried to tell me. For all I knew and thought, our little antics should've meant more than what your confused and disfigured face showed. I wanted to call it an unattractive mess but couldn't muster enough courage to criticize those calming, warm eyes.
We stared at each other, maybe only five seconds in actuality, but seemingly weeks in our minds. She inched towards the trunk, fully packed with luggage for the flight and I wanted nothing to do with driving that car.
"Well, this is goodbye" she said softly, like a lullaby to my ears.
My heart took a lunge, now fully aware of the circumstances and the hand of cards I was dealt. I felt pain, then an urge of hubris guiding me towards her hands and lips. Yet, I couldn't, instead focusing on what the world considered moral. Whatever I could justify saying to her, anything I could do to keep her here, proved far too extreme. It was too late.
It didn't matter what we wanted or the feeling we had in the midst of our stupidity. We can give each other hugs, halfhearted ones at that, because we both knew what our relationship was; it showed other people we were everything and nothing at the same time. How ironic it is that what we hold back usually illustrates a painting that depicts a full-fledged scene, visible only to the artists.
"Don't stay too long. I reckon it won't be too good for your health" I joked at an attempt to create some levity.
She smirked, understanding my humor in mere seconds, and I loved that about her. "What's there to get attached to?" she said.
I knew it was time to go and my body signaled it as well. As if it were a reflex, all my emotions departed in full surrendering. I felt nothing except a humanoid disgust that took ill at the sight of her. My mind flashed images of the hurt she caused and the pain she brought. A melancholic cloud stormed my thoughts, shrouding any beauty I had sought in her.
None of it was real, regardless of how I felt at the time. Deep inside, I knew I'll always hate the pictures that'll show up somewhere, prompting me to stop and marvel at the utterly foolish thing that holds the strongest of grasps on me. Already I knew of the countless nostalgic moments and recreation of love that I felt. Those were the things I kept closest to my heart. Whether they made me happy or sad, well, at this point I would pay hours of sadness for a few minutes of remembering the joy.
Some part of me will analyze what I did wrong or right. I should've said something different here or acted a certain way there. I'll remember what I did right as repeatable experiences for the future, but the real truth is that I don't feel like there is a future without her. Any mistake I made will haunt me forever just the same: as lessons I'll never put to use if she isn't around.
Slowly, we approached each other, acknowledging an embrace that neither of us wanted to initiate but knew fully well it was the only way to leave room open for a storybook ending. You could say we were holding onto something but the actualities of our lives should've never called for any of this to have happened. We're imperfect humans and what better way to admit that than now.
She got into the car and clicked her seat belt secure. The door slammed shut and I looked the other way, partly ready to face this new life I promised would come as soon as she left. I welcomed it thirty minutes in advance if it meant not seeing her off at the airport. Jim, Lisa, and Steven huddled in a circle, goodbyes already said, fully unaware of what had just happened. Yeah, a little part of me hoped they questioned what went on, but maybe it's better like this.
Somewhere down the line, I'll wonder if any of this was actually real. Maybe it was all a figment of my imagination, and everything I had pictured, from the love I felt to all that took place today, meant the universe to me, but practically nothing to her. In her eyes, it was certainly possible we played the roles of good friends and that was the extent of it. The calming night will whisper in my ears, saying "you were crazy and it all meant nothing."
But then I'll remember the calm, warming eyes of hers and a voice that sang to me like a lullaby. They'll pull me back into the dreams of that summer, where it ended how it shouldn't have.